On Thursday, the Best of the Super Juniors tournament continued in Aomori with Ryusuke Taguchi taking on Douki in the main event. The card also featured one of the best matches of the tournament, so far.
The B Block matches kicked off with Robbie Eagles defeating Ren Narita in 9:21. Narita was wrestling in his hometown with Kevin Kelly noting his parents were there. Narita showcases so much fire and has gotten his belly-to-belly suplex over to the audience through constant teases by applying underhooks. This match was all about giving Narita hope he could upset the established junior heavyweight with numerous near falls and applying his cloverleaf/sharpshooter submission. In the end, he was caught with the Turbo backpack and Eagles won. This was a strong opening match and Narita has performed well.
Next, it was YOH defeating Bandido in 13:07 in a mild upset. Bandido showcased a lot of his flying with a tornillo off the top, a gorgeous Asai moonsault from the top rope onto the floor but failed to hit the 21 Plex. YOH kicked out of a modified GTS and clothesline combination, hit Bandido with a Dragon suplex and then did another with a bridge and caught him for the win. The match was good at different spots and Bandido showcased a lot, the finish was a surprise when it occurred.
El Phantasmo defeated Bushi in 10:32 with the CR II. This was average and lacked heat from the audience. Phantasmo was standing on the middle rope and Bushi leaped off the turnbuckle to hit a huracanrana that looked good. Phantasmo hit a pair of suicide dives and received a DDT onto the apron. Instead of having the DDT keep him down, Phantasmo just responded with a punch to the groin behind the referee’s back and hit the finish. It wasn’t a match you’ll remember.
In the best match of the night, Will Ospreay pinned Rocky Romero in 25:47. This was excellent and one of the best matches of the tournament. Romero attacked Ospreay’s left arm and hand throughout the match to weaken it for the armbar and it paid dividends during the final minutes. Ospreay did the Space Flying Tiger Drop but the rest was his selling and not trying to do anything insane. He went for the OsCutter and Romero caught him with an armbar in mid-air and the audience knew the arm was weakened and believed Romero could win. It got hotter when Romero delivered the Forever clotheslines and a shiranui for a huge near fall and the crowd erupted. Ospreay attempted the Storm Breaker and it was countered with a ‘rana for another big near fall. He applied another armbar and Ospreay fought it and lifted him for a sit-out powerbomb to escape. Ospreay landed a shooting star press and the Storm Breaker to win.
Make sure you watch this match. It was phenomenal and both were on their A game for this one.
The main event featured Ryusuke Taguchi submitting Douki at 21:23. It was a tough call to justify this going on last over the prior match. Douki played the bully role attacking the Yuya Uemura and Shota Umino on the floor and slamming them on top of Taguchi because of his disdain for the young lions. It was all Douki for the first six minutes until Taguchi started with the hip attacks. Taguchi applied the ankle lock, Douki grabbed Red Shoes and Taichi attacked Taguchi. Taguchi later took out both Douki and Red Shoes with a hip attack into the corner. Taichi gave Douki a chair, Taguchi ducked and hit Douki with a Gord buster onto it while knocking Taichi off the apron. Douki kicked out of a Bom a Ye, took the Dodon and the ankle lock was applied while the young lions held Taichi on the floor, forcing Douki to tap.
Some didn’t enjoy the main event and it wasn’t at the level of Ospreay vs. Romero, but Taguchi was great in this role and the audience was into it down the stretch. It wouldn’t have been my choice of match order, but the main event was better than I expected. The middle portion dragged and could have been stronger at 14-15 minutes. Taguchi felt like a top star doing the post-match speech and this is the tournament he shines in annually.
They have a break on Friday and return Saturday with the following tournament matches in Yamagata:
*SHO vs. Taka Michinoku
*Marty Scurll vs. Tiger Mask
*Taiji Ishimori vs. Titan
*Dragon Lee vs. Jonathan Gresham
*Shingo Takagi vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru